Lord Darlington's Fancy

Lord Darlington's Fancy

(WARNING: M/M Regency)

Colin Fairchild is appalled when his mother informs him that their wealthy neighbour Lady Darlington invited them to spend summer at Ramsgate with her ladyship and her ladyship’s son. Fairchild believes that Lady Darlington's friendship with his mother brought about the latter's ruin, but worse than that, Lord Darlington has taken a fancy to him and is quite determined to pursue him. 

 For Fairchild the very thought of being courted by a man is odious and unnatural and he is just as determined to reject the amorous advances of his lordship. However, when an imprudent action on his part puts his life and that of Lord Darlington at great risk and together they overcome the gravest of perils, Fairchild discovers that extraordinary circumstances can lead to unexpected results. 

But how serious are Lord Darlington's intentions? And how far will he go to get what he wants?

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IMPORTANT NOTE:

«Lord Darlington's Fancy» is the second novella in my M/M writing experiment. In each M/M story set in Regency era I'm trying to look at the relationship between two (or more) male protagonists from a different angle.


For example, my first novella «A Secret Arrangement» (now out of print) was all about mutual attraction and romance.


«Lord Darlington's Fancy» is completely different. First of all, it is not a romance. There is a certain romantic element to it, but ultimately it is a story of courtship, resistance and dangers that passion can lead to.


Does it have a HEA? Yes, it does. But does it have the kind of HEA that the readers of M/M stories will appreciate? I doubt it. However, it is the only kind of HEA that I saw fit for the main heroes, based on their personal traits and inclinations.

ALTERNATIVE ENDING:

I remember that I wanted to use this ending but my editor insisted on the one that I eventually used in the book. Looking back, I think this ending would have worked much better.


There is no doubt that the two families continued to remain on the most intimate of terms. In fact, they remained particularly close even when, after a passage of a few years, Lord Darlington’s passion for Fairchild cooled down and his eye found a new object of contemplation and devotion. This circumstance, I hope, will not astonish anyone who is familiar with his lordship’s history, as it had been previously noted, on more than one occasion, that Lord Darlington was inconstant by nature, which proved to be the deficiency of his character that was not to be cured by time, age or the strength of his partiality.
As for Fairchild, it was excellent news indeed. It so happened that the impulse, born as a result of the tragedy, that had a great affect on his mind and prompted him to experience a strong attachment for his lordship, had likewise faded away; among other things, having been worn thin by Fairchild’s constant terror of exposure. He had long been uneasy about the shameful nature of their connection, and lately started despising himself for succumbing, at the age of seventeen, to a sentimental notion of bravery, heroism and stunning fatality of natural life. Nevertheless, he was fixed to Lord Darlington’s side by the last remnants of gratitude and obligation.
Happy was the day when Lord Darlington thought to invite a family of cousins to stay at the manor. Lady Darlington happened to mention at breakfast that her sister had been growing distressed over her poor girls’ prospects. She wondered whether there was anything they could do for the three sisters. “Perhaps, a token of some value or a small sum of money apiece?” she suggested. However, she found it too complicated a matter to resolve on her own, abandoned so taxing a task after the first attempt, and relied on her son to supply the solution. Lord Darlington studiously pondered the matter over.
I imagine I know what is to be done,” he declared at dinner that same day.
I knew you would,” exclaimed Lady Darlington, her eyes fastened dotingly upon him. “I declare, I had not a doubt as to that. And so I wrote to my sister this morning. I told her not to think of it anymore and trust my dearest John to resolve the matter. He is such a clever boy!”
Lord Darlington smiled and kissed his mother’s hand. Mrs. Fairchild observed the scene with her usual fanatic adoration. As for Fairchild, he was too accustomed to Lady Darlington’s raptures over her son’s supposed brilliancy to experience anything other than weariness and ennui with the lot.
I am glad you think so, mother, because I mean Fairchild to marry one of them,” continued Lord Darlington, leaning in his chair and gazing complacently at his companions.
Lady Darlington looked startled, then puzzled. Mrs. Fairchild was transformed with delight. And Fairchild thought it a bad joke.
I hope you do not object?”
I do object, Lord Darlington,” replied Fairchild, coldly. “I do not like to be made fun of in so bad taste and so public way.”
Fairchild!” protested Lord Darlington, his expression shocked to have offended and anxious to appease. “I am in earnest. I do assure you. It is my belief that one of them will do extremely well for you. And I am convinced that the notion of entering the state of matrimony had been a lot on your mind as of late. You are one and twenty, after all, quite an age to start a family. Do you not agree with me, madam?” he asked, turning towards Mrs. Fairchild, who nodded her ardent assent.
It was somewhat of a disappointment to her that with Lord Darlington as his intimate friend, no young lady of title and fortune had crossed her son’s path yet. And while the girls in question were neither titled nor wealthy themselves, they were connected with the Darlingtons – opulent and surprisingly generous people – and as Lord Darlington always maintained that he did not wish to marry himself, he would surely need an heir…
One of them is bound to do for you,” said Lord Darlington, catching Fairchild’s eye again. “I would say the youngest. She is of your age and, though I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing her myself, is said to be the prettiest.”
Fairchild stared at Lord Darlington for the longest of moments. He was learned most intimately in his lordship’s many moods and expressions and thus, after studying him, could be certain that Lord Darlington was telling the truth. He was indeed letting him go. Briefly, Fairchild wondered who had succeeded him in Lord Darlington’s attentions, who had replaced him so thoroughly in the man’s favor. In fact, for a shocking second he felt all the indignity of being supplanted by another. How mortifying to be thus dismissed, he thought bitterly. But, then, the whole wonderful meaning of Lord Darlington’s proposal entered his mind, blossoming into a new idea that was elating and overwhelming. He was finally free of this disgraceful entanglement! Free to pursue an honest man’s life! Oh, what a relief it would be to go to church now that he wasn’t so utterly disgusted with himself. He would marry the girl, whether pretty or not, and live an honorable life. However, he was brought short, his elation gone, by a sudden and vastly unpleasant thought.
But I was under the impression that your cousins’ mother was looking for better prospects for them,” he said, addressing Lord Darlington with a frown. “I fear that a connection with me will only serve to degrade one of them further. We none of us have any money.”
Not at all,” replied Lord Darlington with a cheerful smile, “for I mean to give them five thousand pounds apiece. Additionally, I mean to settle an annuity upon the cousin you choose to marry. You are a dear friend of mine, Fairchild, and I wish to see you settled well.”
But then,” said Fairchild, his frown deepening, “there will be money on her side and nothing at all of material worth on mine. Your cousin can hardly be tempted by my house as it is in the most deplorable state.”
I am glad you mentioned the house, Fairchild, for I mean to buy it from you. And a fine price I will pay too! I also intend to carry out all the necessary repairs there before your marriage takes place. After that, you will be established as a tenant, live on the interest, and find lease nothing at all!”
Fairchild would have wished to establish himself somewhere other than in Lord Darlington’s immediate vicinity, but found the offer too generous to scruple over the details, at least at present. He smiled to himself. How well did he understand the motives of Lord Darlington’s benevolence! He recalled a conversation they had years back and his lordship’s words stood as clear in his memory as though he had spoken them mere seconds иуащку: “I am an affluent man, Fairchild, and I know how to reward silence.”
He also recalled Troy’s prophetic words in regards to Lord Darlington’s capricious nature and the fickleness of his regard: “…the sooner you give into his courtship, the sooner Darlington seizes to pay you any attention… show him that you accept him and he shall tire of you in no time…” he said. Fairchild could not help thinking what would have happened if he had followed his advice. Perhaps, Troy would have been alive. Perhaps, it would have been another youth who would have become the victim of Lord Darlington's cruel game. This he would never know and, in any case, he firmly decided that life was too short and unpredictable to amass regrets and divine what would and could have been. However, one could learn from mistakes of the past and make right choices in the future.
When the interest of so many was engaged in and determined by the speedy and successful outcome of the matter, it was to be expected that the happy event would take place long before the twelvemonth was out. The young people were soon quite in love, as much as from design as from natural inclination, that followed upon their first meeting, intensified by the knowledge that they had been destined for each other by their families and friends.
Lord Darlington, free of former obligations and secure in Fairchild’s silence, pursued his new fancy, but, as it proved a lesser challenge than subjugation of Fairchild’s resistance, its duration, though not marred by struggle, was twice as short.

2 comments:

  1. I read both Lord Darlington's Fancy and A Secret Arrangement and absolutely loved them both. I do hope you'll write more Regency M/M stories. There is something to be said for the way you told those stories. Will there ever be a sequel to Lord Darlington? Did Fairchild ever realized what he gave into? Ahh. . . I'd love to know.

    As well, I really love the font type you used on this site. What is it called?
    Happy writing, Mestek.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your kind words! I do have a stash of ideas for other M/M Regencies, however, I have no plans of working on any of them at the moment. Maybe later - once I've completed my current WIP.

      As for Lord Darlington's Fancy, there will be no sequel, but, originally, I meant to include Epilogue, where I was planning on giving Fairchild a chance of having a family once Lord Darlington grew tired of him. I wrote it down but my editor decided that this ending was better. Poor Fairchild! He will be crushed when he finds out and from Lord Darlington too!

      The font type is called Dancing Script.

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